What’s the point of art and culture if you can’t over-analyze them? I write about performance, religion, food, libation, England, Poland, and especially humor, which I’ve dissected from every angle in my attempt to ruin jokes forever. I’ve also reviewed books, contemporary art and budget hotels.

The Laughing Stalk: Live Comedy and Its Audiences
Parlor Press, 2012

I edited this collection of writing that analyses the dynamics of audience behavior. With contributions by leading scholars, writers, and comedians, the essays consider the practice and reception of live comedy performance, including cultural and historical variations in comedy audience conduct, the reception of “low” versus “high” comedy, and the spread of affect in a crowd.

Terrorist Food and Other Dishes
The Jewish Quarterly, 1 August 2013

My review of Brooklyn’s second annual Food Book Fair, and my main question: why is it that, in 2013, the hippest events centre not on fashion or sculpture or music, but ragu?

The Lost Boys of ‘Girls’
Nerve, 10 January 2013

A generation after SATC’s Mr. Big, the guys of Girls are way too into you. Some brief thoughts on the series’ leading (and led-on) men.

The Other Rosh Hashana
The Jewish Quarterly, 13 November 2012

My annual pilgrimage to my favorite congregation – the Brooklyn Book Festival.

Hang Men
Narratively, 3 September 2012 (with Tara Israel)

A behind the scenes look at the art world’s silent schleppers.

Shush for Shavasanah
The Jewish Quarterly, 15 August, 2012

The 10th anniversary of Mind over Madness, when the usual midtown jungle was overrun with the warriors, cobras and cats of 14,000 yogis.

Speed Shrinking
The Jewish Quarterly, Spring 2012

At this New York event featuring therapists and editors, participants can either solve or sell their neuroses.

Beyond Palwin
The Jewish Quarterly, Winter 2012

A profile of wine critic Alice Feiring, unveiling her Manishewitz roots.

The Big Cheese
The Jewish Quarterly, Autumn 2011

My homage to fromage. A play-by-play of the second annual New York Cheesemonger Invitational.

Poland’s Missing Jew
The Jerusalem Post Magazine, 26 August 2011

I went to Poland searching for my missing roots, but found a Poland seeking its missing Jew. I converse with the director of the Krakow Jewish Culture festival, explore the country’s new Jewish institutions, and contemplate the role Jewishness plays in the national psyche.

Notes From a Bimah
The Jewish Quarterly, Winter 2010

An exploration of how Bar and Bat Mitzvahs have been represented in popular culture.

Sha Shtil! A Jew Seeks Silence
Guilt and Pleasure, October 2007

Christianity, Islam and Buddhism all promote silent rituals. Where is the silence in Judaism? Or, are Jews just endlessly chatty?

Towards a “Depth Sociology” School of Acting
Contemporary Theatre Review, August 2010

A conversation with performance artist Andrea Fraser about how she approaches performance from a sociological as opposed to a psychological perspective.

Home and Garden
Geffrye Museum, with David Dewing et al, 2007 and 2003

The catalogues for a series of exhibitions that I co-curated about paintings and drawings of English middle-class living rooms from 1675 to 2006.